The Best Romance Manga Series That Will Make You Fall In Love

best romance manga 
best romance manga

The best romance manga is targeted at two primary audience groups — shonen (manga for boys) and shojo (manga for girls). Irrespective of the viewers they primarily cater to, romance manga is more widely understood for the simplicity of their storylines. But what is manga, and what are shonen and shojo?

Manga is the name for Japanese comics and graphic novels originating in the country. Most manga are typically black-and-white and are marked by their expressive art style, such as large eyes, exaggerated facial expressions and dynamic action scenes.

There is a great diversity of genres in manga, and all manga books fall within a mix of multiple genres. These include shonen, shojo, action, adventure, fantasy, isekai (otherworld adventure), science fiction, horror, yuri (relationships between women), yaoi (relationships between men), seinen (targeted at youth) and mecha among romance manga as well.

The popularity of romance manga, however, can be attributed to several factors. One of them is that they explore a universal human emotion love irrespective of their age, gender, culture or social status.

Romance manga, as the name suggests, is all about the exploration of the romantic relationships of its protagonists and often side characters, offering a welcome escape from everyday life and creating a feel-good emotion in the readers.

Nearly all of them follow completely different storylines from one another; thus, they are not all about the clichéd boy-meets-girl trope. The characters are relatable and come from all walks of life. As the readers find their kind of personality in the characters, they get to connect with the joys and heartbreaks of love depicted in the manga in a safe and controlled environment. Since most romance mangas have happy endings, it makes the reading experience rewarding, fulfilling and inspirational.

Additionally, there is the visual appeal. Manga artists (mangaka) draw unforgettable characters whose persona gets imprinted in the minds of the readers long after they have completed reading the tale.

Hundreds of romantic manga have been released over the last few decades. Some of them have gone on to win critical acclaim and have been adapted into other media, especially anime.


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Here are some of the finest romance manga books to read

1 /7

Kimi ni Todoke by Karuho Shiina 

Year of publishing: 2006–2017

Synopsis: Sawako Kuronuma has been called ‘Sadako’ since childhood for her appearance; her long, jet-black hair and extremely quiet demeanour make her look like the lead character from the 1998 Japanese supernatural horror film The Ring. The otherwise gentle-natured Sawako has, therefore, developed a fear of making friends.

But everything changes when Shota Kazehaya, the most famous boy in school who is her classmate, befriends her. As their friendship develops, Sawako starts opening up to the world around her with Shota’s help and realises that she has feelings for him.

About the manga: Kimi ni Todoke (From Me to You in English) is an exceptionally well-written manga, particularly loved for its sweet mixing of school romance with a dash of humour. The manga has been adapted into anime serials, a 2010 movie starring Mikako Tabe and Haruma Miura, and a live-action Netflix series in 2023.

Image: Courtesy of Amazon

Buy 'Kimi ni Todoke' here

2 /7

Hana Yori Dango by Yoko Kamio 

Year of publishing: 1992–2003

Synopsis: Tsukushi Makino, a student who comes from a humble family, gets into the prestigious Eitoku Academy whose students belong to the elite families of Japan. The school is known for a group of four extremely rich and powerful boys, dubbed ‘F4’ or ‘Flowers 4’ the headstrong Tsukasa Domyouji, the quiet Hanazawa Rui and the playboys Nishikado Soujiro and Mimasaka Akira. The F4 are bullies who make the lives of anyone they don’t like miserable at school. Tsukushi confronts them and, in the process, develops feelings for Rui. But more problems arise when it is revealed that Tsukasa is also in love with her.

About the manga: Hailed as one of the best romance manga of all time, Hana Yori Dango was originally published in 1992. The manga got a major boost across East Asia when it was adapted into the megahit Taiwanese TV show, Meteor Garden (2001).

The success of the Taiwanese show led to several adaptations in other East Asian countries, but none is as famous as the K-drama Boys Over Flowers (2009), which is credited for changing the Korean entertainment industry (and propelling a certain Lee Min-ho to stardom).

Image: Courtesy of Amazon

Buy 'Hana Yori Dango' here

3 /7

Ao Haru Ride by Io Sakisaka

Year of publishing: 2011–2015

Synopsis: A high school girl named Futaba Yoshioka is bullied and as such feels disconnected from her classmates. One day, she meets Kou Tanaka a boy she knew from junior high, whose warm temperament changed her perception of boys and made her crush on him. Family problems had forced Kou to move somewhere else before his return to Futaba’s high school.

Given that some time has passed, Futaba is not sure if Kou is still the same boy, especially since he now appears cold and distant. Moreover, for some reason, he has also changed his surname to Mabuchi.

About the manga: Ao Haru Ride is not as light-hearted as some of the other romantic manga series. This is because it deals with feelings of loss, adolescent struggles and trauma.

Among its adaptations is a successful 2014 film of the same name starring Tsubasa Honda and Masahiro Higashide in the lead roles.

Image: Courtesy of Amazon

Buy 'Ao Haru Ride' here

4 /7

Wolf Girl and Black Prince by Ayuko Hatta

Year of publishing: 2011–2016

Synopsis: Erika has joined a new high school and wants to earn the respect of her friends. The problem is that all of them have boyfriends, but Erika has none. She lies to her friends about a “boyfriend” by showing them the photo of a young stranger she had taken secretly.

Complications arise when the stranger turns out to be the most popular boy at school Kyouya Sata. To cover her lie, Erika seeks Kyouya’s help and realises that he is meaner than he appears. But as their relationship evolves, they help in changing each other’s personalities.

About the manga: Wolf Girl and Black Prince had its publication run from 2011 to 2016. The most amazing aspect of this romance manga is that it takes readers on a long arc in the lives of its protagonists Erika Shinohara and Kyouya Sata. The manga traces their life to adulthood and gives a complete picture of their romance. Part of the manga was adapted into a hit anime series in 2014.

Image: Courtesy of Amazon

Buy 'Wolf Girl and Black Prince' here

5 /7

Love Me, Love Me Not by Io Sakisaka

Year of publishing: 2015–2019

Synopsis: The story revolves around the complex equations between a pair of young high school students: Yuna Ichihara, Akari Yamamoto, Rio Yamamoto and Kazuomi Inui. Yuna imagines that the love of her life will be like a character she admires in a romance manga.

One day, she befriends Akari, who is her neighbour. As time passes, Yuna falls in love with Akari’s step-brother, Rio, only to discover that Rio was in love with Akari before her mother married his father. Yuna’s childhood friend, Inui, who has feelings for Akari, enters this complex quadrangle only to make things more complex for everyone.

About the manga: Love Me, Love Me Not is one of the most heartwarming romance manga of all time. A film of the same name was released in 2020.

Image: Courtesy of Amazon

Buy 'Love Me, Love Me Not' here

6 /7

Maison Ikkoku by Rumiko Takahashi 

Year of publishing: 1980–1987

Synopsis: A young student, Yusaku Godai, a boarder who is about to leave, meets and instantly falls in love with Kyoko Otonashi, a young widow who has joined the Maison Ikkoku as its manager. Although Yusaku decides to postpone his departure and pursue Kyoko, misunderstandings and nosy neighbours create somewhat hilarious situations for Yusaku, as Kyoko struggles with her feelings for him.

About the manga: The title of the manga refers to the fictional boarding house where the story is set. The critically and commercially acclaimed Maison Ikkoku is one of the best-selling manga of all time and has 15 volumes. Originally running from 1980 to 1987, it was adapted into anime and live-action movies and TV shows. The music from the anime and live-action versions was also very popular.

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Buy 'Maison Ikkoku' here

7 /7

Inuyasha by Rumiko Takahasi 

Year of publishing: 1996–2008

Synopsis: The main protagonist is Kagome Higurashi, a young schoolgirl living in the current period who is transported to the 16th-century Sengoku period through a magical well in her family’s Shinto shrine. She meets a half-dog, half-demon entity known as Inuyasha who is a master of a powerful sword. Kagome discovers that she is the reincarnation of the priestess Kikyo, who is no more and whom Inuyasha once loved before a misunderstanding tore them apart.

With the help of Inuyasha, Kagome must find a series of shattered artefacts that might help them defeat the evil half-demon Naraku. As they go on their adventure, Kagome and Inuyasha also struggle with their feelings for each other.

About the manga: Considered universally one of the greatest manga ever written and Rumiko Takahasi’s best-known work, Inuyasha is primarily a fantasy adventure story. Yet at its heart is the love of two protagonists separated by time.

The manga was first published in 1996 and had a run for 12 years. Its groundbreaking popularity was further enhanced with a string of highly successful movies and anime serials. It was also adapted into stage plays and video games, the latter of which were released on consoles such as PlayStation and Game Boy Advance.

Image: Courtesy of Amazon

Buy 'Inuyasha' here